NEFIS Press release, 16 July 2015
In response to the physical assault on a Manipuri nurse of Dr RML Hospital on the night of 13 July, activists of North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) gathered in protest outside the Hospital gate. The nurse from Manipur was attacked by a patient at 13th night inside the hospital. The patient was brought in as part of a medico-legal case and was accompanied by policemen. NEFIS condemns the unsafe work atmosphere in the hospital and considers it a huge problem that women employees are being attacked by patients during their work hours and more so during night shifts. Such violent assaults are not only a crime but also a violation of labour rights, such as the right to a safe work environment. The recent attack on the nurse from Manipur also reflects how nurses and other workers from the North-East are exposed to racist attacks in their workplace and are highly vulnerable. The organization strongly feels that most such attacks on North-East women and youth have a racist undertone, and that such attacks are facilitated in a large number of workplaces which have ad-hoc security arrangements.
Considering that the hapless nurse was attacked by a person accompanied by policemen and the immediate assistance she received in warding off her assailant came from a doctor, it is evident that the RML hospital administration has to take greater efforts at enhancing its own security measures and staff. Greater precautionary measures as well as proper surveillance of patients brought in as part of medico-legal cases is a responsibility that RML Hospital should take on more seriously. To this effect, NEFIS activists submitted a memorandum to the hospital’s Medical Superintendent. A delegation also met police officials at the nearest police station to apprise them of concerns regarding the lack of safety in RML and other hospitals. The delegation emphasized that in conditions of poor security, nurses and other healthcare workers from the North-East were falling easy targets because they looked different.
The demands raised by NEFIS included:
- Better protection and security for nurses and workers from North-East should be given, especially at night.
- Provision of an assurance from the CMO’s office that all the nurses and workers should be treated equally and no racial or sexual discrimination should be faced by them.
- Compensation and other assistance should be provided to the victim immediately so as to help her overcome the trauma of the assault.
- To curb future racist attacks of such kind, proper measures should be taken by the local police station to address loopholes in the given system.
NEFIS can be contacted at nefis.delhi(at)gmail(dot)com